E.A. Sports Today

Coming up big

Anniston ‘gazelle’ posts Montgomery, Barclay dominate as Lady Dawgs roll 57-35 in Northeast Regionals

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Anniston girls coach Eddie Bullock says this game in the season is always the toughest on him every year. So much so he hadn’t eaten since the middle of Sunday afternoon.

His players assured him – many times over – ‘we got this,’ but he still wasn’t altogether convinced until he saw it.
“A lot of times they say they have it doesn’t necessarily mean they got it,” Bullock said.

He worries too much. The Lady Bulldogs’ bigs definitely had his back.

Kiana Montgomery and Asia Barclay – the gazelles, Bullock calls them – combined for 40 points, 28 rebounds and eight blocked shots as the Lady Dawgs ran past Fairview 57-35 in the Class 4A Northeast Regional semifinals.

The Lady Dawgs (26-3) will play Oneonta (23-6) in the regional finals Wednesday at 4 p.m. Oneonta dumped Hokes Bluff 56-38.

Montgomery had 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Barclay admitted being as nervous as her coach coming into the game, but she still had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
“We tell Coach Bullock we’ve got it, we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do,” Montgomery said. “All of us are kind of jittery because this is one-and-done, we know we have to play, but when we say we got it, we got it.”

There are a lot of basketball coaches in America who sleep better knowing they have a pair of bigs who can get it done down low. Bullock is one of them – when the Lady Dawgs execute like he knows they can. He spoke at length after the game about the combination of the bigs’ ability to run the floor as well and control a game in the paint
“It was more of a luxury for me last year because I had four to go to,” he said. “With them, it’s a different beast now. We’ve got two who really, really run the floor. I call them gazelles. This one (Montgomery) runs not quite as aggressive as I want her to do it and this one (Barclay) runs without a purpose sometimes; she just runs. I’m trying to get them to focus in on what they need to do and realize what they’re capable of doing because it’s tough to defend. We got what we need (personnel-wise), we’ve just got to execute.”
“When we’re both clicking nobody can stop us,” Montgomery said. “That relieves stress for Allasha (Dudley) and our shooters when we play and get open and get in the paint and get the ball.”

Barclay knocked down the first bucket of the game and Anniston never trailed. Fairview matched the Lady Dawgs’ first two buckets, then a late offensive foul call denied the Aggies (18-12) the go-ahead basket and Anniston pulled away.

The Lady Dawgs’ offense was designed to get it to Montgomery in the middle and let her go, and get the put back when necessary. They outscored Fairview 38-10 in the paint and 12-5 on second-chance points. Montgomery was 10-of-17 from the floor, Barclay 9-of-12. 

“No need in having these two bigs if you’re not going to give them an opportunity on the inside,” Bullock said.

There were so many times when one would miss and the other would knock it back down. There was a stretch in the third quarter when the Lady Dawgs (26-3) pulled away Montgomery had a basket; she followed a Barclay missed put back with a bucket; Barclay blocked a shot, Montgomery got the rebound and threw a long outlet pass for a Barclay layup; and Montgomery banged in another bucket. 

“She was the Energizer bunny,” Bullock said of Montgomery. “And she still was not as aggressive as I want her to be. They could not stop her. She has to have that dominant mentality. First girl I ever coached who can literally grab the rim. Nobody can jump with her. It’s just being aggressive. Sometimes I think she may second-guess what she’s capable of doing on the inside. They never stopped her. She stopped herself. She’s got to be aggressive.”

Dudley had 12 points for Anniston. She was 8-for-8 from the foul line.

Anniston 57, Fairview 35
FAIRVIEW (18-12) –
Payton Golden 3-7 4-6 11, Maddie Yeager 1-4 0-0 2, Daisy Manasco 1-5 0-0 2, Katie Ball 2-7 3-4 8, Molly McKelvy 3-7 0-0 8, Morgan Lindsaay 1-3 0-0 0, Isabella McGukin 0-2 1-2 1, Melinn Garcia 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-37 8-12 35.
ANNISTON (26-3) – Allasha Dudley 2-10 8-8 12, Anna Garrett 0-0 0-0 0, Airriana Colley 2-6 0-0 5, Kiana Montgomery 10-17 1-2 21, Asia Barclay 9-12 1-1 19, Ladajah Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Shi Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Keyahra Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 10-11 57.
Fairview         8   12  11  4    –  35
Anniston        14 13  14  16  –  57
3-point goals: Fairview 5-11 (Golden 1-3, Manasco 0-1, Ball 1-1, McKelvy 2-4, Lindsay 1-2); Anniston 1-8 (Dudley 0-2, Colley 1-4, L. Williams 0-2). Rebounds: Fairview 20 (McKelvy 5); Anniston 32 (Barclay 14, Montgomery 9). Fouled out: Yeager. Total fouls: Fairview 15, Anniston 12. Officials: Ortiz, Stoudmire, Burks.

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